Confusion Over Report On U.S. Palestinian Aid Curtailment

Confusion Over Report On U.S. Palestinian Aid Curtailment

Israel’s Channel 2 has caused confusion after reporting that the U.S. Congress House Appropriations Committee is debating the cessation of foreign aid sent to the Palestinian Authority (PA) due to long-standing concerns over government-sponsored incitement against Israel.

Channel 2 reported on Saturday that U.S. Aid, upon which the PA is massively reliant, could be shelved until a trustworthy report is produced which shows a curtailment or reduction in Palestinian incitement against the State of Israel.

But the Times of Israel soon rumbled Channel 2‘s report, claiming that while there have been multiple bills linking aid money to Palestinian incitement, there is currently “no such bill… at that stage of the legislative process”.

Channel 2 quoted Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who apparently said: “I met this week with members of Congress and thanked them for proposing a law designed to stop the incitement against Israel in the Palestinian Authority”.

But according to Rebecca Shimoni Stoil at the Times of Israel: “Legislative advisers and lobbyists reached after the Channel 2 report was broadcast also said that they were unaware of any legislation that fit the report’s description”.

“In Washington,” Stoil suggests, “…the [Channel 2] report was received with some confusion”.

The only two bills Channel 2 could have been referring to are firstly ‘H.R. 3868: Palestinian Peace Promotion and Anti-Incitement Act’, which seeks to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to make funds available for the Palestinian Authority, and secondly ‘FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act’ which is already law.

Royce’s bill seems to fit the description, but Stoil says it was not referred to the Appropriations Committee, and it has not passed out of committee for a floor vote yet.

Stoil writes: “This bill also did not go directly through the Appropriations Committee, but rather was referred to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee… If this is the right bill, then Channel 2’s optimism was well-founded — in retrospect. The legislation was voted into law as part of a hard-brokered budget deal which was a must-pass for the administration to avoid a government shutdown… Whether delegates realized that among the over 600 pages they were striking a congressional blow against incitement is uncertain”.